Wolfgang Van Halen has reflected on his formative musical influences, from the likes of AC/DC, System of a Down, Blink-182 and more.
Wolfgang recently sat down with Ultimate Classic Rock, in an interview that saw him explore the genesis of his musical interests.
The multi-instrumentalist recalled that he was 12 the first time he picked up a guitar.
“When I was 12 and graduating sixth grade, I wanted to perform ‘316’ the song my dad wrote for me, at my graduation,” he shared. “So, I just learned that song, and from there I took a shine to guitar and tried to learn everything I could.
Despite having a bonafide rock god for a father, Wolfgang maintains that Eddie Van Halen never tried to influence his musical upbringing.
“He never really tried to push me into any direction. I think the only thing he really introduced to me was AC/DC, the album Powerage was a big bond for us,” he shared. “‘Down Payment Blues,’ that was my dad’s and my favorite song. But from there I kind of developed my own taste.”
Wolfgang, like most of us, was profoundly inspired by Blink-182’s generation-defining record, Enema of the State.
“I was really into Blink-182. I played Enema of the State nonstop – that’s how I learned the drums,” he shared. “It wasn’t until maybe I discovered Tool that I started to see an improvement in my skills by trying to play like Danny Carey.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Wolfgang gave kudos to System of a Down, whilst revealing a truly ridiculous nickname Eddie had for the band.
“I was really into System of a Down in middle school, but I don’t think he ever knew the band name. He would always call them ‘La la la la la la la la la,’ because of the song ‘B.Y.O.B.’ He thought that was really funny.”
Earlier this month Wolfgang released his first solo single, ‘Distance’, a tribute to his late father. The song was written for Eddie whilst he was battling cancer. As Wolfgang explains, it was his way of “imagining what my life would be without him and how terribly I’d miss him.”
“No matter what the distance is, I will be with you,” he sings on the track.
The soaring, stadium-ready track saw Wolfgang play all the instruments and tackle vocal duties. It’s been released under Mammoth WVH — an homage to Eddie’s pre-Van Halen bands.